As the BJP-led NDA government highlights its achievements in the first 100 days of being in power, and releases report cards of various ministers and their feats, a look at Pune MP Anil Shirole’s record in the same period makes for a dismal show. The BJP leader seems to have failed to make a breakthrough in resolving any of the issues that he had promised to tackle after getting elected from Pune. Shirole, however, defends his performance by blaming the state government for thwarting all his attempts at reform.
In his election campaign, Shirole had pledged to “clean up the system” and make it “corruption-free”, resolve the traffic problem, stop river pollution, improve sewage system and public toilets, work towards checking the air pollution and protect the hills. According to the Lok Sabha website, the Pune MP neither raised any query related to these issues, nor did he participate in any discussion in Parliament.
In fact, on two occasions, he had to defend the Union government’s decisions related to development projects in Pune. One was the Union government’s decision to not fund development projects approved by the UPA government under JNNURM, for which money was yet to be released, and the other involved water treatment plants at Parvati with the NCP-Congress combine raking the issue.
The biggest embarrassment, however, came to him probably when Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone for the Metro rail project in Nagpur after clearing it in the cabinet, even as Pune has been awaiting this for many years now. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan alleged discrimination between the two cities, while Union minister Nitin Gadkari claimed credit for getting the Nagpur Metro approved by virtue of constant follow-up and blamed the state government for the delay in Centre’s clearance to the Pune Metro project.
Civic activist Vivek Velankar said the last 100 days gave no reason to the city to cheer about. “We are not even sure whether the JNNURM funds will come in as nothing has been discussed on that front,” he said, adding that the issues pertaining to an efficient public transport system too seemed to be in a nascent stage and the proposed Metro project too had not taken off.
Activist Vijay Kumbhar said: “The main issues pertaining to environment has not been taken up. BRTS, Metro and the overall traffic system too seem to be in the same condition. There is no noise about any new initiative or funding from the Centre that the new MP has brought for the city.”
State Youth Congress chief Vishwajit Kadam, who lost to Shirole in the Lok Sabha election, said the MP had failed to push the city projects with the Union government.
Shirole, however, said: “I had started taking up the city issues with the offices concerned. However, the state government that needs to respond to the issues is not taking them seriously and this is hampering the growth of the city. I did take up the issue of funding for new facility at Parvati Water Works and have been able to get a positive response from the government. Similarly, the communication with the urban development ministry on Metro revealed the reasons for delay in getting approval to the project, which is tardy response from the state government.”
He added: “I have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about including Pune in the list of 100 smart cities planned in the country.”
Shirole said he had also taken up the issue of overbridges at Ghorpadi and Lullanagar that were awaiting approval from various Union government departments.
He said the efforts to push for development of the city would gain momentum after a new government was formed in the state. “I am hopeful that the Shiv Sena-BJP will come to power in the state and the city issues would be resolved at a faster pace,” said the MP.